Molly needs your vote!

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Hi I am Molly, I was born in Wales and live in Carmathen and I am profoundly deaf and use British Sign Language. I am standing for election to the Welsh Youth Parliament because I feel passionately about showing that deaf young people can do anything with the right support in Wales. I know what it is like for deaf young people living in Wales and I want to stand up and be a voice for young people and improve deaf awareness across the Country. In the future I want to work in Parliament, help my dreams come true and vote for me!

Within my current school, I have been involved in the school council for the past two years. For the past year I have been the chair of the student council. Since 2016, I have been involved in various youth councils/groups. I am a member of the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Young People’s Advisory Board. I love to support and help others like me.

As a deaf young person in Wales, travel can be really difficult. This means it can be hard to meet other deaf young people. This can make deaf young people feel alone or stressed as they cannot make many friends. I want to change this and campaign about creating more local deaf clubs in Wales.

I want to change the views people can have of deaf people, showing them that they can do any job, or activity they want to do. Deaf young people can do anything.

Also, I would use technology to connect with you to find out your views and thoughts of how to make Wales even better for us! I would do this through e-mails and using social media and make sure they are passed onto the Parliamentary group.

I am really passionate about standing up for change. As an experienced chairperson for other youth councils I have a very positive and determined attitude to help you make changes across your Country.

To read more from my manifesto, click here: https://www.youthparliament.wales/candidate-profiles/060-15-e

Please support me by voting for me in the Welsh Youth Parliament. To vote you must register by Friday 16th November 2018. It will take you two minutes to register and help change Wales for the better.

To register, click here! https://www.youthparliament.wales/candidate-profiles/060-15-e

Audiology services for deaf children – a review of the past five years

NDCS - Ian Noon, Head of Policy and Research

Ian Noon, Head of Policy and Research

Continuing our series of blogs on the upcoming election, this blog takes a look at the government’s record on health and audiology services in England.

What’s changed?

One of the big changes over the past five years has been the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It’s fair to say that this got a rocky ride through Parliament, with some seeing it as another top-down reorganisation of the NHS and others seeing it as necessary to make the NHS more streamlined, less bureaucratic and patient-centred.

In terms of structures, deaf children and their families may not have noticed many changes in terms of where audiology services sit and who does what. But behind the scenes there have been lots of changes in funding and organisational arrangements, leading to uncertainty and confusion over how the changes impact on audiology services.

There have also been changes to how audiology services are checked to ensure that they’re providing a good service. The existing quality assurance programme, which looked at the patient journey from screening of babies for a hearing loss to diagnosis and audiological support and other support, has been scrapped. For audiology services, this has been replaced by an accreditation scheme called Improving Quality in Physiological diagnostic Services (IQIPs). Unfortunately, IQIPs isn’t mandatory and there is a lack of transparency over how has applied for accreditation. This means that parents of deaf children now have less information about the quality of local audiology services.

Are deaf children getting the support they need?

This matters because there are increasing concerns over whether those audiology services are doing everything they should to ensure deaf children get the best possible support. Before the old quality assurance programme was scrapped, it was found that 1 in 3 audiology services were failing to meet basic government standards. We have no real idea whether that has got any better – or worse.

On top of that, NDCS is increasingly being contacted by parents saying that they are noticing cutbacks in audiology, some of which are set out in the NDCS Listen Up! campaign report. These range from having to wait long times for ear moulds or delays in diagnosis, to being denied funding for specialist auditory implants. Even small things, like offering coloured earmoulds are being cutback, even though this can really encourage deaf children to wear their hearing aids and make the most of their hearing.

Deaf awareness

Deaf young people also tell us that deaf awareness in health settings also remains an ongoing issue, as set out in the NDCS My life, My Health report. The good news is that NHS England has started to wrestle with this issue and a new accessible information standard, is expected to be launched next year. As part of this, all NHS settings, including GPs, will be expected to do more to meet the communication needs of deaf people.

As with education, trying to do justice to five years of health policy in a single blog is a challenge and the above does not attempt to cover everything or even to touch on wider changes that impact on all children. Again though, we hope it provides some food for thought though. Let us know what you think about our summary evaluation by leaving a comment below.

The John Lewis Experience

Paula Brown,  Family Officer South Wales

Paula Brown, Family Officer South Wales

Deaf children and young people in Wales repeatedly tell us that deaf awareness is simply not good enough – in schools, leisure activities, NHS, public transport and shops. That’s why NDCS Cymru as a team has made raising deaf awareness a key objective, in terms of campaigns activity and also Family Officer outreach.

Here’s an example of one such initiative where NDCS Cymru (in partnership with John Lewis, Cardiff) facilitated a supportive, meaningful work experience for deaf young people, and hopefully ensured an enhanced shopping experience for deaf children, young people and the wider deaf community going forward.

From small acorns…
Who would have thought that a chance meeting, three years ago, between NDCS Cymru staff and a speech and language therapy student, who was working part time in John Lewis, would have led to work experience placements for deaf young people in the Cardiff store? Well it did and it’s been fantastic

Whoever said ‘fair exchange is no robbery’ was on to something. In the first year of our relationship with John Lewis my fellow family officer, Jamie Rhys-Martin, and I just provided the deaf awareness training. It went so well they asked for more! But we wanted something out of it as well and that’s when the deal was struck. Jamie and I provide the deaf awareness training to their staff (partners) once a year and a group of deaf young people get work experience placements in return.

Here are the best bits……so far!
• New opportunities for deaf young people that they would not have had otherwise – and real experience for them and John Lewis partners, putting theory into practice.

• Friendly and welcoming partners who want the deaf students to feel included and benefit from their work experience week.

• Behind the scenes tours of John Lewis and seeing the inner workings of the store which is a world away from the pristine store that shoppers see.

• Mind your BOPS, don’t confuse your FFF and FFs, watch for the WINS and get your fill in the PDR – a lot of confusing acronyms!

• Cheap and tasty eats in the HIGHLY subsidised PDR (Partners Dining Room). It was impossible to spend £10 between 3 of us in one day and that was eating and drinking as much as we possibly could at every opportunity. If you knew Jamie ‘hollow legs’ Rhys-Martin you’d know how hard that is to believe but it’s true!!!!

What did the deaf students & parents think…
• “Really good to see how retail works, the kind of money they take and the people there. I think working for them is a much better choice that most other retailers tbh. Tuesday I was on EHT, Wednesday on Tech and Audio, Thursday on Lighting and Seasonal and Friday they moved me back to Audio and TV. Was also surprised how much I was “allowed” to do apart from the case, I could take the sale, check if it was in stock, do print-outs, advise etc. So yeah, very pleasing!”

• “The best thing was to be able to experience what it is really like to work on a shop floor dealing with customers, also making friends and learning about different products.”

• “Thank you Paula & Jamie! A…had a fab week in JL. He says he’s thinking about the JL apprenticeship after his A levels! Who knows, but it was a great experience for him.”

• Hi Paula I had a fantastic time in John Lewis I enjoyed everything I did but the best thing was using the till and helping the customers. I also met some new friends and have a good experience of working in the store. I would love to work there:-)”

• “Yeah it’s good, so happy”

We’re very grateful to John Lewis for the giving the deaf young people of south Wales such a brilliant opportunity. John Lewis has demonstrated in a practical way that being deaf is not a barrier in their workplace. Hopefully other companies will follow suit.

So here’s to 2015 and the next batch of deaf work experience recruits!